Money-saving advice series with Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood. The team meet a paramedic whose busy home and work life has left her with no time to sort her household bills.
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Whether you're a spender or a saver,
we could all do with knowing how to make the most of our cash.
So we've found simple advice for you to do just that
and taken it to towns and cities right across Britain.
Whatever help you need with your finances, we are Right On The Money.
Hello and welcome to Right On The Money,
the series that's all about putting some of that hard-earned cash back
where it belongs - in your pocket.
And today we're in a city that's a particularly good one
for getting money out of your pocket - lovely Leeds,
which has been dubbed the best place for shopping in the whole UK.
As always, we've got some great advice for you,
and here's what's coming up on today's show...
We go all out to save this hard-working mum some serious cash.
But even we were shocked by just how much better off she's going to be.
It makes me think that I've wasted so much money.
In fact, I have. It's not...
I have, definitely, haven't I?
And can you really make your fortune by posting funny videos online?
Well, one of our experts is prepared to give it a shot
with the help of this dancing dog.
This is where my dancing skills come in.
Now, Leeds actually has 3.5 million square feet of retail space.
That's a whole lot of temptation.
That's a whole lot of feet, Denise.
But our first priority today
is giving one busy Yorkshire mum something that money can't buy.
Angela Ord from Sheffield has a demanding job as a paramedic,
but when it comes to making financial decisions,
she hasn't got a Scooby-Doo.
To be truthful, I don't understand finances.
I don't know if it's laziness
or if it's just lack of knowledge or lack of interest.
There's more important things for me to do.
The way I see it is, if I want more money, I do overtime.
That's how I cover the costs of things.
Angela lives with her son Toby, and to make sure she can
cover all their bills, she takes on extra overnight shifts.
Hard work certainly runs in the family,
because 15-year-old Toby's got a job, too.
I'm just working at a corner shop just down the road,
and I just stack shelves and mop and sweep up and clean stuff.
He's a good boy.
Single parent Angela has been working all hours to pay off
her mortgage and fund the occasional holiday for her and Toby.
I'm proud of my mum because she's managed to look after me,
for a start, and to be able to look after me on her own...
I don't think many other parents would be able to do that,
so, yeah, I'm really proud of her.
Aw, thank you, son.
Aw! Because Angela spends so much time working overtime shifts,
she often relies on her mum to look after Toby.
Bye, Toby. Bye, Mum.
If I'm on a twilight, which, obviously,
I'm out on an evening and a night shift, Mum will come and sleep over.
Sometimes I get stressed about the situation I'm in,
because I know I've got to go out to work
and maybe if I'm on a run of night shifts or day shifts,
I count them away so that I can be home with Toby.
With Toby growing up fast,
Angela is desperate to work less and start managing her money better,
and we know just the man who can help her -
personal finance expert Simon Read.
-Yes, it is. Hello.
-Hi, I'm Simon. Nice to meet you.
Before Simon gets down to the business of Angela's bank balance,
he wants to find out a bit more about the job she's so dedicated to.
Why do you love the job so much?
Oh, why do I love the job?
It makes me feel good about myself.
It makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.
So you have to make a lot of sacrifices for your job,
with the long hours and the extra shifts and so on?
Mmm-hmm, I do.
Predominantly, a chunk of my wage is because I work shifts.
-And that chunk of my wage is what gives me and Toby a better lifestyle.
So if there's something I want,
I'll work out how much it is, and maybe four, five, six,
shifts overtime and that will fully cover the cost.
What if I told you that if you spent four hours looking at your finances,
you could save yourself £1,000 a year?
Wouldn't that be preferable to doing 70 hours of extra work?
Show me how to do it.
I'll certainly try.
That's a bold statement, Simon.
Time to start that clock.
He begins by looking at simple ways
to save cash on unnecessary expenses,
like Angela's premium bank account.
You currently have an account which you pay money for.
How much do you pay for your bank account?
-It's £10 a month, standard.
But if I go a penny overdrawn, it's £15.
A penny overdrawn, you get charged an extra fiver?
Now, would you be prepared to switch your bank account or is there a loyalty issue?
No, I'd like to switch my bank account.
Although Angela's bank account gives her some extra benefits,
such as basic mobile phone and holiday insurance,
Simon's convinced that it's not worth the money she pays.
So instead, he's found her an account that GIVES her cash,
rather than takes it away.
One I'm looking at actually pays cashback when you spend.
The way it works, I think, is brilliant.
It pays 1% cashback on water and council tax bills, which we all pay,
which means you're going to make some money.
It pays 2% cashback on your gas and electricity bills.
It pays 3% cashback on mobile, home phone, broadband
and paid-for TV packages.
Don't be stuck with some old account that's charging you too much.
Find something that actually works for you and that benefits you.
Sounds really good, actually.
Switching your bank account is usually pretty straightforward.
It will only take about a week,
and your bank will do all the hard work
and transfer those direct debit payments, too.
More than 1.1 million of us switched in the last year alone.
And with the deal that Simon's found her, Angela is about to join them.
If you get rid of your old bank account,
for which you're paying up to around £150, £170 a year,
and switch to this account,
I reckon you'll be at least £150 a year better off.
-How does that sound?
That's a good start, Simon.
When those cashback payments start coming her way,
Angela will be quids in.
-I'm going to be rich at this rate!
-Let's hope so!
And Simon's on a roll.
He's instantly onto another big saving.
So far, Angela's never been tempted to switch energy supplier,
and she's been with the same one for about 20 years.
To be fair, I'm quite set in my ways.
I am quite set in my ways about things,
and maybe there's a fear factor that things might go wrong.
But with just a few quick clicks,
Simon has found a deal which could save Angela some serious cash.
So we go to a comparison site, we put in your details.
There's a button here. I'll press that, and let's hope this works.
How much do you reckon you could save?
-Maybe about £20?
-£20 a month?
In fact, you could probably save £306 a year,
which is roughly about £25, £26 a month.
Wow! Another great saving.
I never even thought about it before.
I think I'll have to give that a shot.
Now he's made some easy savings, it's time for Simon
to take on one of Angela's major money-wasting habits.
She's currently forking out
a quarter of the money she earns on food.
So, listen, Angela, how much do you spend a month on shopping?
I spend about £500, approximately, a month.
£500 a month?! And there's only her and Toby!
Why are you spending so much when it's just the two of you?
I don't shop around. I go to the same place every time,
three times a week, and you can guarantee that, weekly,
I'll spend 70, 80, 90 on one shop
and then maybe 50, 60 on another shop.
I go in, I pick anything up that I want...
I think Simon might need some emergency assistance on this one.
Listen, I think we could really do with some help here.
She just spends too much.
Enter Charlie Hooson-Sykes,
food blogger and top-tip giver on all things edible.
She's an expert in shopping and saving.
Let's have a nosy.
OK, definitely not a lot for 500 quid a month.
-Shall we head into the fridge?
I really... As you can see, I like to have fresh fruit and veg.
-I don't always, after a 12-hour shift,
-have time to prepare a meal.
Angela buys so much stuff to make sure that Toby gets his five a day.
Trouble is, because she works such long hours,
most of it ends up in the bin.
You've got these in the bag and they're going a bit sweaty and,
as you can see, they're starting to go a bit bad.
The best thing to do is, when you get them, take them out of the bag.
hour or two out on the side, and it will dry out
and then you can pop it into the fridge on its own
and it will still last a little bit longer.
Charlie and Simon are keen to get to the root of why Angela is going so
wrong, loading her supermarket trolley with food she doesn't need.
So when you go shopping, do you actually make any sort of list,
any sort of plans,
or do you just wander around and throw things in the trolley?
-I just turn up and shop.
But Simon is a man with a plan.
To break her careless attitude to shopping,
he's taking Angela to the local supermarket
to see what happens when she's let loose in the aisles.
This mince, I would probably just think, "Wow, that's half price,"
and just pick it up without checking the contents,
without checking anything.
You haven't got much time so you just rush through.
-And, as a consequence, you overspend.
Charlie is keen to show how just a bit more thought could help Angela
slash what she spends on shopping.
It's interesting, the tins here are very pretty.
However, in these slightly less salubrious conditions,
we have the cheaper tins.
So it's a question of looking away from where they want you to look,
into where you should find the right-price stuff.
For you. Exactly.
Those expensive ones that were caught by my eye were 95p or £1.05,
depending on what kind of can you got.
These ones down here, they're only 31p a can.
-That's quite a lot of money.
-I can get three of them for one of them.
And it seems that Simon and Charlie's double act
is paying dividends.
Angela is finally realising how she could shop smarter.
I think I probably take away that I need to spend
-a little bit more time planning.
-Planning and preparing.
And maybe looking at labels a little bit more, for costs.
You've got to put the effort in! You've got to put some work in!
You'd be saving money if you did that.
It just takes a little bit of planning.
I'm going to keep on telling you off until you understand this.
Plan ahead and you'll save,
fail to plan and you'll overspend.
Sounds like Angela has really taken Simon's words to heart.
And if she follows his advice on food shopping,
we estimate she could save £3,000 a year.
And there are plenty more huge savings ahead
for this hard-working paramedic.
Among them, Simon will deliver one of the biggest single savings
our experts have ever found.
That's incredible. You'd save five years of repayments,
and that's five years of extra interest.
Sounds like Angela will be switched on
to switching to better deals from now on.
We'll see how much more we can save her later on in the programme.
Andy Webb from the Money Advice Service is here, along with Karyn,
who is affectionately known as the blogger Miss Thrifty.
We're going to come to you in a second, Karyn, but first, Andy,
they say, on average, people can save about £300
by switching energy companies.
-Why aren't more people doing it?
-Yeah, I mean, there's a few reasons.
Some people are maybe a little bit scared about what happens.
Are they going to dig up the roads to change the pipes?
Is there going to be a break in my power while the switch is going on?
That's not going to happen. You won't see any change at all
to the power you use. Some people think loyalty pays.
-Here, it really doesn't.
Yeah, you pay more than everyone else...
Actually, you've got a confession to make, Denise, haven't you?
I did change after the programme last year.
I did change mine and I'm very happy with the savings I've made.
-It was considerable, wasn't it?
-It was a considerable amount so I'm very happy.
That's the other thing, people think it'll be too much hassle,
they put it on the to-do list,
it never gets to the top and they never get round to it.
And, Karyn, you've changed your energy provider eight times
over the last few years. Why's that?
Because of better deals.
Gas and electricity, it's not like going out to buy sausages,
where you get different quality products from different suppliers.
Gas and electricity, it's all the same,
as long as your boiler's firing up, your lights are switching on,
so why wouldn't you go and pick the best deal
when there's so much money to be saved?
And it isn't just a better deal on your energy supply
that you shop around for, is it?
No, I shop around for everything.
But energy in particular,
because there's so much money to be saved and it takes minutes,
just minutes, to do it online
using one of the price comparison websites. You can't lose.
And you have no problems in switching quite frequently,
because you've done that for the past few years?
I tend to switch every year when my tariff expires.
I switched, funnily enough, just this morning,
cos my current tariff is due to expire in the next few weeks,
and I've saved myself the best part of £500.
Karyn, you are definitely a super-savvy money-saver.
We spoke to Angela earlier, who's talked about switching her banks.
Is that something that we should all be investigating?
Yeah, absolutely. People do worry a little bit about their money.
Often people get their bank account at 18, or just before,
and then they're with them 10, 20, 30 years, you never change.
Again, that's me.
It's not broken, I just don't change, especially with my bank.
And people might worry about what happens, because this is your money,
but this is seven-day switching service
and it literally just takes seven working days.
Your money, your standing orders, your direct debits,
they'll all be moved over to the new account, so you don't have to worry about that.
And then for three years after that, any other payments in and out,
they'll also be forwarded across, so you've got time to pick up
anything you might have missed, which makes it really, really easy.
Perfect. Good advice, I think.
-Thanks a lot for your time.
Now, online channels like YouTube
are transforming the way we access and watch our favourite moments
in TV and music history.
And it's proved to be a pretty lucrative way of making money, too,
or at least it has for those who have managed to strike gold
by posting their home-made videos online.
This online video of one-year-old Charlie
mischievously nibbling his big brother Harry's finger
went viral around the world.
That really hurt.
And to date, it's been viewed an incredible 836 million times.
In the process, it's made the family a whopping £500,000.
And that really hurt, Charlie.
That's because once videos like this become hugely popular,
they attract the attention of companies that want to cash in
and advertise alongside them.
But it's not just funny kid videos that can make you money.
Cute animal clips are just as popular.
Money-saving expert Richard Fenton recently wrote that posting funny
videos of your pet were an easy way to make extra dough.
So what I wanted to know,
is it really that simple to earn cash from your own videos,
and could Richard put his money where his mouth is
and manage it himself?
Yes, I did write a piece about how
everybody should be able to make money doing a blog video,
dancing with their dog.
And now Denise has challenged me to do it myself.
But does Richard actually have a dog?
No, but I'll get one.
Richard needs a four-legged friend and sharpish.
That was easy enough.
But you know what they say - never work with children or animals.
With his dog back on a tight leash...
Come on. Good boy.
..Richard can turn his attention to some canine freestyle.
First, some music.
# Who let the dogs out...? #
# How much is that doggy in the window...? #
It helps if your dog actually likes the track, too.
# Puppy love... #
# You ain't nothing but a hound dog... #
That's made his ears prick up, Richard.
All you need now is a doggy dance routine,
lots of practice and let's get the cameras rolling.
This is where my dancing skills come in.
There we have it. One video.
Now all we've got to do is get it online.
Come on, Max.
Richard's definitely got the moves.
And while I'm still not convinced he can manage
to turn this canine jive into a money-spinner,
there are people who make a regular income
from posting their videos online.
So I've sent him to meet a Yorkshire mum who's turned her part-time hobby
of sharing animal animations into a lucrative little earner.
May you have a tree-swingin' and gift-bringin' time.
Tell me a little bit more
about the actual videos that you put online.
OK. They are greetings cards,
or videos, and people use them to share.
They'll post them on social media sites,
to wish people happy birthday.
And we've branched out,
and do Valentines and Easter and Christmas as well.
Sophie posts an average of two videos a week,
which you can download and share for free.
So how does she make money if she doesn't charge?
Well, her growing audience caught the attention of YouTube,
who said that if she agreed
for adverts to be placed alongside her videos,
she'd be paid a cut of the revenue.
Just remind me again, how many people do you get
viewing your videos on an average month?
It's just over a million views a month I get.
That's a fairly impressive number.
It's quite high, yeah.
In terms of revenue, what sort of numbers are we talking here?
Last year, it was just over £9,000.
Right. That's a fairly impressive number
for something that you perhaps do part-time.
Blimey, that's not bad at all.
And if your video becomes a global hit, well, the sky's the limit.
With a few clicks, Richard's dancing dog video
is up on the internet and about to go global.
Are you talking about me or the dog?
I think Max is definitely the best.
I think the advertisers are going to like this.
I think they could come flocking.
I can feel some big names already wanting to get behind this.
I'm not going to be invited to Strictly this year,
but I think my moves are pretty good.
But will Richard's video be an online sensation
and bring in the big money?
Richard's with us now, along with Janet,
who has a rather mysterious way of making money.
Don't tell us yet, Janet, because I'm dying to come to Richard
and find out how his dancing dog video has done.
How many views have you had, Richard?
-You mean just two digits - 83?
83. Two of those were the cat.
-No! I bet four of them were your mum, weren't they?
I think I know the answer to this one. How much have you made?
A sum total of zero.
I'd like to say I feel really sorry for you, but I watched the video and I don't.
It was never going to be a success, Richard, was it?
But at least it was an effort. You gave it a try, didn't you?
Yeah. That's the thing.
It's getting out there, trying something.
It's just like any form of stardom that you chase,
whether you want to be a movie star,
big in the music industry, big on TV.
It is a long shot, and you've really got to hit the mark.
So if you think you can just produce something overnight,
get it on YouTube and see the money come rolling in - no.
It's going to be one in a million.
But there are simpler, easier ways to make money
in less conventional ways.
So, for example, if you want to recycle toilet rolls,
instead of just throwing them away, you can store them up
and then sell them on eBay in packs of ten
to people who might be wanting to do arts and crafts.
My hamster would be devastated if I robbed him of his toilet rolls.
He won't like you, Richard. Janet, tell us about
your less conventional way of earning money.
I go around checking on people's level of customer service
in major organisations, such as banks, department stores.
And I work for a national company
who specialises in optimising performance in people.
Basically, what you do is go in and you're reporting
-on how good or bad their service is?
-And you're getting paid for that?
-I'll tell you a true story,
I worked for a company back in the '90s, and we got mystery shopped
regularly. And if we didn't come up to the mark,
we were fined by our boss.
Admittedly, if we passed the mark, he used to give us a bonus, as well.
But it used to drive us mad.
I think it's safeguarded these days, because the reports are very,
very detailed and we actually record the whole conversation.
So I go in with a covert recording device hidden about my person.
It's very James Bond, isn't it? SHE LAUGHS
It is. It's very covert.
Do you ever feel guilty?
I actually admire your honesty,
because although it might be a bit of a sneaky job,
you're actually helping to improve the retail environment.
There's probably an awful lot of people right now,
looking at this and thinking, "You know what, I'd love to do that job,
"go around and get paid to mystery shop."
How would they go about it?
Just get on to the internet, have a look at the companies.
Fill in a brief application form
saying why you think you're going to be good at the job.
They'll come back to you if they think you would be and
they'll test you out and you end up with a star rating depending on the
reports and submissions you make to them.
I'm going to be really rude now, Janet.
I'm going to ask you how much you make by doing this?
It depends how many assignments you're willing to take on
in terms of your spare time.
You could work every day and you could take home £1,000 a month.
Or you could work once a month
on one assignment and earn £100 a month.
OK. It sounds to me like you are making a lot more money than
Richard's video did. She's got it right, hasn't she, Richard?
-She has. Sounds good.
-I think you've definitely got it wrong.
Here's a question for our Denise - would I make a good mystery shopper?
Ooh, I'm not going to answer that, Dom.
Of course, the whole point of this programme
is to help save you lots of money,
but how far would you go when it comes to scrimping?
Time to confess if you are one of the growing number of people who are
re-gifting those unwanted Christmas presents.
I'm not very organised myself, so I'm always re-gifting presents.
Re-gifting, I've done that a few times.
Nothing outrageously expensive, or anything like that,
it was just maybe, like, toiletries which you're not that keen on.
Vouchers. All the time.
Just give them straight to the next person on, because, you know,
most of them, you don't get the ones that you want, anyway.
So, yeah, vouchers, big time.
Like a T-shirt.
I'll give it to my cousin, you know, as a present...
..who's not into fashion! He'll just wear it, you know,
but he'll be very grateful.
It was a box of chocolates, so I gave it to someone else.
I don't want it.
I think I might have done it a couple of times over the years.
Really, you shouldn't, but if you don't like it, you don't like it.
We're humans at the end of the day.
There's things we're going to like and things we're not going to like.
Some of the kids' presents at Christmas we re-use for
other kids' birthday parties, don't we?
I think it's OK as long as you haven't used it
and it is still brand-new.
But is re-gifting for everyone?
Joining me in one of the biggest shopping centres in Leeds
is retail expert Claire Rayner.
Now, Claire, have you ever re-gifted?
Because I know I do a little bit.
-Are you guilty?
-I have been known to.
I consider it a form of recycling.
-What types of things to you re-gift?
-All sorts of things.
It might be duplicates of things I already have,
or things that the kids have already got.
So it's a good way to make sure the gift becomes usable, I think.
The shopping experience is about to change in the future.
-Just tell me a little bit about that.
-I think it could be really exciting.
The technology we see coming through from the gaming industry,
for instance, can percolate down into the retail environment.
And I imagine the experience of walking into a fashion store
with your mobile phone in your hand, or your digital, interactive watch,
and that store starts to recognise your presence,
send you personalised offers, recommend items.
You pick up a few things,
you go into the fitting room and mirrors can interact with you,
telling you you look great.
Or perhaps you need a longer or shorter skirt length,
whatever it might be to help you make the right choices.
But you might want to take your products home,
so imagine you can just drop them off in a secure locker
and a drone might deliver them to your house later.
Or they might come with a courier to your office.
I think that's the sort of experience we can imagine
and anything that's possible with technology these days
could be built into the future of retail.
I mean, it sounds just inconceivable,
but you're saying this is really going to happen?
I think so, because a lot of the technology already exists,
and retailers really have to do something
to engage with shoppers to take them away from sitting on a sofa
and doing all their shopping online.
And how will this affect supermarkets?
Is that going to be any different?
Yeah. Supermarkets are really under pressure at the moment. We've seen a lot of change already.
That's being pushed by the way consumers are changing their shopping habits.
So click and collect, for your online shopping -
you go to the supermarket, the bags are loaded into your boot.
Drive-through supermarkets are popping up.
And I can imagine a lot more of that will come about.
What's this I've heard about facial recognition coming into play?
Oh, yes. Again, it's something from the gaming industry
that's becoming a feature of retail.
There are trials being run
whereby you can actually pay from facial recognition.
The system will know who you are through your image,
so, ultimately, we could pay by selfie,
we could just smile at a camera and it will know who we are
and take our payment, again, seamlessly,
from bank accounts or credit cards linked to our face.
-No face lifts then?
So is there anything we can do to avoid overspending?
Yes, and I can imagine, in the future,
with such a cashless and seamless way of paying for
things using mobile phones,
it's going to be essential that some of us put a bit of a halt
on going a bit too mad with that.
And I think what we'll see is apps coming out
to help us with our budgeting, to help us control our spending.
Pinging alerts to us to let you know, "You've spent £50 today,
"your budget's 60, slow down, you've only got £10 left."
And other such things like that.
It sounds like there are some big changes ahead.
So what do shoppers here reckon to all that?
What do you think to the fact
that you might be able to pay for your products with your face,
-ie like a selfie?
-With my face?
I don't think I would like that.
I wouldn't, no.
I've never thought about that.
That's a good idea, I suppose.
No-one else would have a face like this!
Do you do any shopping online?
-Not at all?
I'd rather deal with cash.
-You deal with cash. You're a bit of a traditionalist?
-Yes, I am.
Do you ever shop online?
I do sometimes, yes. Not very often.
Because I usually send things back, because they don't fit.
I like to see and feel what I'm buying,
as opposed to just pressing a button.
I don't like it. I prefer to come and do it
and go home and have a nice day. I wouldn't do the computer stuff.
-No, I don't.
-Not at all?
Not at all, no. Far too old for that.
What is it about shopping online, is it easier, is it quicker?
Convenient. Just convenient.
Paula can do it from her desk at work!
Ah... So when you're supposed to be working...
You heard what she's doing.
Do you like shopping?
-I do, yes.
-Yeah, you do?
-Do you shop online at all?
I don't even know how to switch it on!
It seems as though people are shopping online,
but those I've spoken to today still prefer to make their purchases
in places like this.
Who can blame them?
Now, earlier on, we met busy paramedic Angela,
who was desperate for help tackling her finances.
Let's see how she's getting on.
Yorkshire mum Angela, like a lot of us,
has always struggled to work out where to start with her finances.
I don't have time to sort my finances
and, truthfully, I don't understand them.
I don't understand percentages and payments.
I don't tend to look to the future massively,
which isn't always a good thing.
Angela is working hard to make a better life for her
and 15-year-old son Toby,
but, as a result, she misses out on quality time at home.
If I want more money, I do overtime.
That's how I cover the costs of things.
I can do anything from one to four shifts a month.
Angela currently clocks up about 48 hours of overtime a month
to foot the family bills.
This Yorkshire lass was desperate for help,
so we sent in personal finance expert Simon Read
to find a way to help Angela work less by saving her more cash.
-Am I going to be rich at this rate?
-Let's hope so.
So far, he's found ways that she could save £3,456
just by cutting down on her massive food bills,
switching her energy provider and changing her bank account.
Sounds really good, actually.
What Angela craves most is time with her family and friends.
Today, her mum Rosemary and pal Caroline
have popped over for lunch and a chinwag. A rare occurrence.
It's not very often you get the chance to have this valuable time
together with friends and family, is it?
No, not at all.
Toby and I very rarely eat together,
purely because of my shifts.
Don't you miss your mum not being here all the time for you?
I used to when I was little, but now I would sort of like...
It's just second nature to me really, you know.
Just my mum being out, long shifts working, it's just normal.
It's just become established?
Like a lot of working parents,
Angela relies on the help of her mum.
She never once says, "Well I can't, I'm busy."
I've never heard that, never.
-Do you think she could do it without your help?
Without me, I don't think she really...
You know, maybe we can help change that
so she could be at home a bit more for you.
-That would be nice, wouldn't it?
It would be nice for everyone, wouldn't it?
-It'd be quite nice to be home a bit more for you, wouldn't it?
I think that would be nice, even though he hides away from me.
Simon has found a way for Angela's job to boost her piggy bank
without putting in any extra hours.
It's all down to an NHS employee discount scheme
that's been under her nose all this time.
Angela's job gives her lots of money off all sorts of shops,
restaurants and even holidays.
So you know about this money you can save,
but you don't use it very often?
Is it simply because you don't know how to find out
where these savings are, where these discounts and deals are?
I do, yeah.
But I don't know how to apply it.
A number of businesses and organisations run similar schemes,
giving staff access to discounts and offers.
So check if you've got one, too.
With just one click on the NHS website, Simon's found
that he can bring down the cost of Angela's boiler breakdown cover.
You can get this great package, which seems to be exactly the same
as the one you've already got,
except for this one, you get a tenner off.
So that means you save another £120 a year.
Just by the things that are already available to you
that you haven't taken advantage of.
It's absolutely fantastic, what you've found for me.
I'm going to be saving quite a bit by the looks of it.
-I mean, you just need to buck your ideas up and see what's
around you and make the most of it.
Another £120 a year back in the coffers.
Great work, Simon.
But it's not just money that Angela is after.
There is another reason why she needs to get her finances in order.
She may be fit and healthy now, but 11 years ago,
it was a very different story.
I just got a sudden pain in my head.
But it was like no other pain that I can describe.
Totally out of nowhere?
Just out of nowhere.
I just kept saying, "My head hurts, my head hurts."
And I was projectile vomiting, hallucinating.
Then I was diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage.
One of the consequences of Angela's illness
is that she's been unable to get any life insurance cover.
It's something that has haunted her ever since,
especially with a young son to think about.
I want to be able to leave him something to set him up a good life, should anything happen to me.
I have gone through maybe five or six companies, and I've had the same result from everybody.
-And what do they say?
-I'm just a high risk, they won't cover me.
Simon has arranged for Angela and Toby
to spend some quality time together while he sees if he can find her
the life insurance cover she needs.
I'll see you when you come down.
-Hopefully, we'll have some good news.
There are lots of factors that affect the cost of life insurance -
age, health, what your job is and if you smoke.
Because of Angela's brain haemorrhage,
she's in the high-risk category, so Simon's got his work cut out
getting an insurance company to even consider her.
Let's see how he's got on.
I searched online and you're absolutely right,
most life insurers just say no. They're just not interested.
So I went to an online broker and I put in your details there.
I then had a chat with them and I've got some good news.
Two firms they spoke to said they would cover you.
But with her medical history, will the premiums be too high?
The standard policy for you, for £100,000 cover,
would only be about £15 a month, IF you had no medical history.
Given your history, that would make it between £30 and £45 a month.
Now, with all the money we've saved you from your food
and the other things, I think this is really affordable.
What do you think?
I think that's brilliant. It's excellent, yeah.
Although Simon's aim has always been to save Angela money,
this time he's also bought her peace of mind, and that's priceless.
But Simon's work isn't done just yet.
For his final savings push
he's tackling her biggest financial commitment -
Like 98% of us,
Angela hasn't bothered to negotiate a better deal with her lender,
or look for one elsewhere.
Part of the problem is you're quite comfortable at the moment.
You think, "Why change things?"
I've been with the same people now for over four years.
And would you be happy about making the change, changing your lender?
Definitely. If it saves me money, yeah.
Angela is currently forking out £446 a month
to pay off her mortgage over the next 26 years.
Simon has arranged a meeting with mortgage expert Paul
to see if there's a better deal out there.
You pay about 450 a month at the moment.
We can drop those payments down potentially to anywhere around 375.
£375 a month.
Straight away, Angela could save £75 off her mortgage
by switching to a different lender.
But even better, if she was to pay off her mortgage a few years sooner,
her savings could be staggering.
If I'm being sensible, and if I'm looking to the future, then I know
that I need to decrease the length of time I have the mortgage.
So if we drop the term down even further to 20 years,
the payments are about £430.
So a little saving on what you're paying now, but you've shaved...
-Six years off.
-Yeah, over five years.
So that's incredible, you'd save five years of repayments.
That's five years of extra interest,
and you're still cheaper than what you're paying right now.
By switching to this new deal,
Angela could be mortgage-free nearly six years earlier than she thought,
and the savings on those repayments and interest would be a staggering
Yes, you heard it right, 31 grand.
Simon's money-saving marathon couldn't have ended better,
but it's made Angela wish she'd looked into all this sooner.
It makes me think that I've wasted so much money.
In fact, I have. It's not...
I have, definitely, haven't I?
Well, it's never too late to put that right, Angela.
Lovely to have you here.
-All the best, good luck.
-Take care. Bye.
Let's tot up just how much of a difference all of this
could make to her finances.
By switching her energy provider, Angela could save £306.
And by signing up with a different bank,
she'll have another £150 in the coffers.
Add £120 saving on that boiler protection scheme
and the £3,000 she could save by planning her shopping better.
But the biggest and most amazing saving of all,
£31,000 on the mortgage.
That's a grand total of £34,576.
Come on, Angela. Put your feet up. You deserve it.
It's going to be quite a life-changing experience.
I'd say the best bit is what I've learned about my mortgage.
That is a massive relief.
So we saved quite a bit, haven't we, son?
Aye, you can buy us a new car.
Angela, nearly six years off your mortgage.
I mean, what difference has that made to you?
Quite a lot actually.
It's given me the ability to retire earlier, if I want to.
That's been quite a worry that I've had for some time.
It would take me well over 70.
So, now, I've got the option to retire at 65 if I want to.
-I think a lot of people watching will be
in a similar situation to you. Very hard-working, perhaps didn't have
the time to update their finances and look at them.
I think you'll be an inspiration.
People will think, if Angela can knock six years off her mortgage,
I could probably do the same.
I think there's a possibility for anybody to do it.
You've just got to not do what I do
-and sit back and just accept what's given to you.
Start researching and finding out
that there are better things there for you.
You've actually gone above what we actually recommended to you?
I have, yeah. Recently, I had a renewal for car insurance.
What I would normally do is just say, OK,
is there anyway of getting this down a bit?
And they say, maybe, £10 or £20.
So I decided to put some time aside, sat and researched it,
and actually saved myself about £160.
It sounds to me like you are really taking ownership of things
and you've got a renewed confidence and spirit about you.
Yeah, there is, definitely.
I do feel like I'm more in control of my finances.
I feel like I'm confident enough to go out and say,
"That seems a little bit too much so, maybe, it is a little bit too much."
Angie, you were spending more on food than London Zoo was
on feeding the animals! Has that changed?
Yes, it has.
Since we started doing this,
I've started breaking my shopping down and maybe going twice a week.
I don't think I've thrown anything away since my original...
How much do you think you're managing to save?
I don't buy the things I bought before.
Rather than prepacked, I'm getting...
I've always got fresh stuff but rather than prepacked,
now I'm buying it separate.
I'm taking it out of the bags, I'm storing it correctly.
I'm prepping big bowls of salad.
I'm getting meat in bulk and chopping it down and bagging it up.
So I think I must have saved £150 on food, easy.
-That's great. That's really good.
Now, Angie, you're not to be happy with me,
because a little birdie told me that you thought you'd get
a water meter installed to save on your bills.
But when you went outside, you already had one!
-I did, yeah.
-You didn't know whether you was coming or going, did you?
-At that point?
-No. But that just shows you that I wasn't really
in control of everything, doesn't it?
It shows that I was just accepting things as they are.
I just glided along and let things happen.
As long as it was paid and I was managing it, I was happy with it.
But not any more, not any more.
-You're a lot happier now, aren't you?
Your son Toby's a good lad, isn't he? You're very proud, aren't you?
-I can tell that. Has he seen a big change in you?
I think so, yeah. Because I'm a little bit more content
with my finances and I have made some savings,
there isn't the urgency to go out and work so much
to bring more money in. So I'm feeling a bit more relaxed
and I've stayed home little bit more than normal.
So, I'm around more for him.
It sounds like you've really changed your life.
Moving forward, do you think you can stick to the advice
-that Simon has given you?
This sounds like it was the wake-up call you needed.
It was the kick up the backside I needed.
-That's putting it politely!
It's been good, it's changed a lot of things at home for me.
Thanks for coming on the programme, and send our regards to Toby.
If you fancy one of our experts popping round to sort out your
finances, like Angela did,
send us an e-mail at...
And here are some tips on how you can balance those books.
Our website has everything you need to sort out your spending.
We've teamed up with the Money Advice Service
to bring you easy-to-use money-saving tools
to plan your budget, calculate the cost of your car or credit cards
and give your money a complete health check.
Download them at...
Where you can also take our interactive spending test
and you'll find plenty more tips and advice
to keep your finances on track.
Andy Webb's back with us and we've got some questions for him
from the good people of Leeds we've met today.
Kim would like to open a savings account for her child
and wants to know what are her best options?
This is a great way to get your kids involved with money and thinking about saving, and, hopefully,
get that habit in place for when they get older.
There's a few options.
So, a Junior ISA,
that's going to be locked until they're 18.
When they turn 18, they're going to get all that cash
but that's a good way of building up some money.
If they want access to it, you think you'll teach them to save
up for this toy or whatever and they put money in and want to get it out,
look for something with more access.
You want to get the best interest rate you can, so hunt around for that.
You can also - this is a bit more out there -
but you can even start a pension for your kid.
Obviously, they're not going to get it until they're retired but think about how long,
if they're five now, they get it when they're 65, that's 60 years that money is going to be growing.
A bit different, but could be an option.
Now, Joanna asks, when taking out life insurance,
she says it's much more expensive if she adds a critical illness cover
and wants to know, does she really need it?
Critical illness cover, you'll get a lump sum pay-out if you, maybe,
can't work because of an illness, such as some kinds of cancer,
or maybe having a stroke, stops you earning money.
This isn't going to be for everyone, but say you're the sole breadwinner,
you don't have any savings to back you up,
it's worth thinking about, what would you do in that situation?
But everyone's got a different set of circumstances,
so this is somewhere I'd recommend talking to a financial adviser and
getting something that works for you and your family.
Thanks, Andy. That's it from us today.
Thanks to all our guests and to you for watching us.
We'll be back soon with more money-saving tips,
-so, until then, cheerio.
In this episode, Denise Lewis and Dominic Littlewood present from Leeds, where they meet a paramedic whose busy home and work life has left her with no time to sort out her household bills. As personal finance expert Simon Read goes all out to transform her finances, the results are more dramatic than they could ever have imagined. Could his suggestions boost your bank balance too?
There is a look at whether it is really possible to make money from posting funny videos online - money-saving blogger Richard Fenton rises to the challenge and attempts to make a mint with his own effort - by enlisting a dancing dog.
Plus how stores are using new technology to beat online retailers at their own game.